Wednesday, December 17, 2014

CBS. Scaring Your Kids With ​Nintendonitis

' "First there was "Nintendo epilepsy." '

And then the world ceased to exist! CBS must have taken a page from FOX News, because this is one story that will not go away. Within a few hours of posting, it's sweeping the internet and gaming blogs, mostly to people shaking their head and some poking fun at it. Some show some concern, but if you've played a game you already know the key things: eat, drink water, stand up and walk around every hour or so, and listen to your body. If you need to pee, pause and go to the bathroom. Even hardcore gamers who make a living off of this hobby know to answer their body's pleas first. The game comes second.

Nintendo epilepsy. Nintendo neck. Nintendo elbow. Nintendonitis.

Not only are they funny to say, but cultural terms that are real medical issues. They may be coined differently in the field, but we all know better. You got that "tennis elbow" by playing too much Wii. In the 1980's there were a few isolated cases of children reacting to the NES with seizures because of the rapidly changing screens and intense flashes. Over time the few instances caused game distributors to change their manuals to include health warnings. A study released yesterday focused on the cases where games were listed as the cause for health issues, and cautioned safety to those purchasing Nintendo products as holiday gifts. Because it's that darn Nintendo that causes so many problems. The XBox and PlayStation? Those are fine.

Here's the reality: the vast majority of people playing video games are not going to experience problems. Those who have suffered seizures have been cases where there was another underlying health condition where their bodies are predisposed to react to lights and sounds differently.

Don't let the CBS article freak you out. Any gamer can tell you that it's easy to listen to your body. The hard part is following-through. If your wrist starts to hurt, pause the game and stop playing. If your thumb feels sore, pull back and put the controller down. It is just a game and you can stop it at any time. Do so and don't be a dummy about it. Enjoy your games this holiday season!

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